Theatre of Sleep
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About this electronic version
Theatre of Sleep was published in 1986 by Picador, and the print edition of Theatre of Sleep says"© Guido Almansi and Claude Béguin 1986". In 2001, my husband Guido Almansi died, leaving me as copyright holder for the anthology. The 2008 Google Book Search Settlement between Google and US publishers and authors - who had nothing to do with the original publication - forces right-holders to allow Google to sell access to "orphan" (out-of-print according to the Settlement) books as it has scanned them in libraries, under the conditions stipulated in settlement, or to forbid this use.
"Orphan book" is a funny phrase. I can't think of Theatre of Sleep as an "orphan", not so much because I am alive, but because the publication of a book makes the "parent/child" metaphor authors might entertain while they are writing it, void. A published book is a thing, not a person, and it belongs to its readers, who can do whatever they please with it, so long as they respect the rights of its producers.
On the other hand, the Google settlement stipulates that users will only be able to copy and/or print a minimal fraction of the works made available by Google, and this defeats the point of having an electronic book. However, it seemed a pity to just forbid Google the use of their scanned version without offering an alternative: hence this "electronic version".
The one presently offered is numbered "0.1", because there might be other ones in future, if permission is given for the re-use of other copyrighted texts in this electronic form, or to correct mistakes.[June 28,2009: version 2.0 added; July 16, 2009: version 3.0 added]
From the original introduction
"Les songes contiennent infiniment moins de mystère que le vulgaire ne l'imagine, mais un peu plus aussi que ne le croient les esprits forts." Pierre Bayle
In The Faber Book of Aphorisms, edited by W. H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger, we find the following observation about dreams: 'Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives' (Charles Fisher). Dreams, in other words, guarantee our freedom to evade temporarily the shackles of reasonable life. This aphorism describes particularly well the situation of writers, who are often forced by the more obtuse among their readers to be much more rational than they would like. If literature is threatened with fossilization this is not so much the fault of the conformist writer as of the conformist reader, this honest sincere genuine coward (not a hypocrite but his opposite), whose rule threatens the freedom of literature. The vitality of writing depends in the end on the openmindedness of the lector in fabula.
For this reason we think that literary dreams have a crucial role to play: they can lure the dull reader who just wants a nice story ('And I like a story to be a story, mind, and my wife's the same' grumbles the writer's bogeyman in E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel outside his usual daily life. This tiresome reader wants literature to copy his own experience of reality, or at times his ovm experience of fantasy - which is rather scanty and thrives on palace hotels and airports, jet-set and exotic adventures, brothels and noble mansions. But although the fantasy of Forster's literal-minded reader is in bad repair, his dreams might work better (God knows why: this is one of the many puzzling riddles concerning dreams. Aristotle, in a passage reproduced in this book, already wondered why the Gods should send some of their best prophetic dreams to commonplace persons). Even the man who wants 'a nice story' might be willing to follow the writer in the adventures of the dream because he cannot deny that dreaming belongs to a reality shared by both of them. It could in fact be the only reality they may have in common.
About the downloadable files
Here is a more explicit list than the one in the "View the Book" box on the left:
- For editorial texts (introductions, blurbs of antologized items), and for translations by Guido Almansi and/or Claude Béguin of anthologized texts whose original is in the public domain, or for which the original rights-holder has given permission, the rights holder is Claude Almansi-Béguin. For anthologized texts under copyright for which permission to re-use them in this electronic version, the rights are held by the original right-holder.
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